Summer camp tips

Planning ahead for your National Park visit.

With the valley heating up (well, it should be soon enough), it’s time to head for the hills, valleys, mountains and rivers of our National Parks to do some camping and live outdoors for awhile. If you’re a smart camper, you’re likely carefully putting together your gear and provisions (you can never bring enough clean water) to ensure a safe trip to the wild. But don’t get too caught up in the details of what’s going into your packs. Whether you’re heading out to Yellowstone or South Dakota’s Badlands, or to Yosemite or nearby Lassen Volcanic, you need to also make sure to get the necessary info from the park you’re visiting and get all your plans set before leaving town. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:

Make a reservation

This is especially important at the super-busy parks like Yosemite, which can fill up months in advance. And if a reservation isn’t required, get there early and avoid the “campground is full” signs.

Get a back-country camping permit

If you plan on back-country camping, you’ll likely need a permit. Visit the ranger station on arrival, or call ahead.

Know your predators

You’re going to be in the wild, and each park has its own set of potentially dangerous predators and prescribed precautions. Get educated by park officials and do not veer from recommended procedures.

Camp away from RVs

Look for the “no RV hookup” areas of campgrounds to avoid the noises (and smells) associated with the big vehicles and be that much closer to nature.

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